Oh hey, so you want to get more freelance clients? I feel you. But the honest truth is that those blog posts titled ‘How To Get More Clients NOW’ are bullshitting you. They’re taking you for a mug….and I know you’re no mug.
Whether you’re a freelance writer, coach, graphic designer, cleaner, hairdresser or a PT one thing is (hopefully) true. Your services are worth paying for. So you WILL gain more clients. But lets be realistic. The best freelance jobs are the ones worth waiting for. Get rich quick schemes do not work.
So put in the work NOW with these 10 small, simple steps and over time you’ll get something better than instant clients. You’ll get high paying clients who come back again and again to your business.
Let’s get started shall we?
Talk to other freelancers
You might think that you need to keep your cards close to your chest when it comes to other freelancers. They’re stiff competition for potential work, right? Well, not necessary. Talking to other freelancers and sharing your knowledge can be beneficial in the longterm.
I’m known within some circles as a real Pinterest expert. I’ve offered lots of free advice to other freelancers about how to use the platform with their own clients and as a result, I’ve also received referrals and gone on to get paid work showing small businesses how to utilise Pinterest.
Most freelancers have an area of expertise or a few key areas where they thrive. Good freelancers know when to say no to work as well, either because they’re too busy or don’t have the right skills to get the job done. If I was in that position, I’d want to be able to recommend someone I know to help the client out and I would absolutely point them in the direction of a friendly freelancer who I know can deliver.
Brag to attract more clients
Going back to the Pinterest thing… I realised a few years ago that it’s a real polarising topic. People either get it or they don’t, and I like to think that I’m one of the people who get it.
That doesn’t make me better than anyone else (if anything it’s a bit geeky and very niche) but it does give me a skill worth bragging about. I always forget to mention that it’s one of my talents (yes, I’m calling expert Pinning a talent) but as soon as I do mention it to clients or in a group networking event there are always people looking to learn more.
Get comfortable with bragging. Share your knowledge whether it’s in a blog post or on Instagram. Did you just get 1000 likes on your latest post? Brag! Just received a 5 star Etsy review? Brag!
Take business cards everywhere
You might think that business cards are outdated but I personally find them invaluable. When you meet new people you inevitably end up talking about what you do for a living and guess what, everyone you speak to is a potential client.
Whether it’s your hairdresser, your vet or someone you get talking to at the bus stop you never know who is looking for your kind of services. And relying on them to remember your name and find your contact details online is just a risk that isn’t worth taking.
It’s always nice to ask “would you like my contact details?” as it sounds a bit less sales than “here’s my card”.
Make it easy for people to enquire
Like I just mentioned, people are unlikely to put in a lot of effort to find your contact details. People are lazy. We expect things to be digitally handed to us on a plate, so make it so.
Go through all your social media platforms and your website and look at it from an outsiders perspective.
Does your website have a contact form? Is it in a prominent place?
I think contact pages need to be part of your main menu, and other info like links to your Instagram and Twitter profiles should be easy to find too. I make my email address VERY easy to find. It’s in my Twitter bio and linked up to my Instagram account so if anyone wants to contact me its easy AF.
Oh whilst you’re here. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. See? Easy. Freelance clients some say hello!
Create a rate sheet
You never know when someone is going to appear in your inbox asking for your services (hopefully more frequently if you’ve followed steps three and four) and it’s a real-time suck typing out your fees and packages every time.
It’s also hard to remember exactly all the services you do offer (remember my Pinterest blind spot?) so spend some time creating a PDF document that details everything you do.
If you don’t have set rates and work on a project by project basis, consider simply stating your day rate or give examples of previous projects you’ve worked on along with a price range (e.g. packages start at £300, or prices generally range between £300-800) to at least give people an idea of what to expect.
This is also great to have on hand for those freelance clients who enquire about something small (say a one-off copywriting task) but you spot a need in their business for something different (ongoing content creation)
Offer free training
Work for free? WTF?
I truly believe that you can’t expect people to pay for your services until you prove your abilities. Free taster training sessions are a great way to do this!
My friend Kirsty employed this technique when she started her new business, offering a selected amount of free workshops in exchange for recommendations and testimonials. It works, especially if you target people who are in control of spending whether it’s as part of a company or within their own small business.
Offer free advice/support
This is a notch down from free training and doesn’t take quite so much time. Be on hand to offer little tidbits of advice here and there, in DMs, blog posts or recorded webinars. It could even be a friend or family member who needs help in an area that you’re really experienced in. Prove your abilities to future freelance clients and make sure that they know you’re worth paying for.
Free discovery call
This is something that I see a lot of coaches offering and I think it works. They offer a no-obligation phone call or video chat to see what the client is looking for, and also to set realistic expectations of what they can offer as a coach.
This gives both parties a chance to see what the relationship will be like before committing to anything 100%. I’ve made that leap from email to phone call with potential clients and it’s pretty much always led to paid work.
Emails are easily ignored. The back and forth of questions and answers can drag on for weeks – if not months – and might come to a halt for many unknown reasons. But get someone on the phone? It’s your chance to shine, convey enthusiasm and inject your personality into the mix.
I do a lot of general writing which has no connection to my mental health work, but as soon as I mention my book to prospective clients it almost always seals the deal. People are intrigued to learn that I write about a subject with such passion and my sensitivity and thoughtfulness adds depth to my character. It builds a genuine connection that just isn’t possible via email.
Offer paid training
If you’re already getting high-paying freelance clients then chances are you’re an expert at something. It could be screen-printing, ceramics, public speaking, branding or email marketing. There are always going to be people who would rather learn your skills that pay for your services, so why not indulge them?
One of the things I get asked most frequently is how to pitch to magazines, so I decided that instead of telling people for free I should charge for the service. So from time to time, I will offer a Skype training session on this very topic. I also offer training sessions on Instagram and Pinterest, things that some people can learn naturally but there are always people out there who haven’t got a clue how to start.
Chase up warm leads
Remember that person who emailed you about some work three months ago? Send them a follow-up email to check-in. What about your mum’s mate who said she might have some work for you? Find out her number and give her a ring.
That networking event that your friend always says is amazing? GO.
If you think long and hard about it you have some warm leads in your inbox, on your phone or within your social circles somewhere. It’s just a matter of ignoring the inner voice that keeps saying ‘aah its a dead end there’s no point’ and ploughing on regardless. Make that rates and services PDF that I spoke about earlier and send it out to your entire email list (assuming that you are GDPR compliant, obvs) and include your friends and family too.
How have you found more freelance clients? Let me know in the comments below!